SCOTTISH farming representatives have accused Tory MPs of failing to support their industry after the latest votes on the Agriculture Bill.

The House of Commons rejected amendments to the bill which were intended to protect food standards in the UK.

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said union members are “bitterly disappointed” about the results of Monday’s votes.

MPs were considering amendments put forward by the House of Lords.

One of the amendments sought to make sure that post-Brexit trade deals meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.

'I firmly believe that is what the public wish to see'

Mr McCornick said: “NFU Scotland has consistently argued that new trade agreements are a major opportunity for Scottish agriculture. We pride ourselves on provenance and quality: herein lies the opportunity.

“Farmers, crofters and growers in Scotland must be enabled by the current and future governments to reach a thriving export market in a manner which builds on our existing, world-leading standards of production.

“This ambition goes hand-in-glove with the UK Government’s own manifesto commitment not to compromise the UK’s standards of animal welfare and environmental protection.

“For this reason, NFU Scotland and the vast majority of our members are bitterly disappointed that the amendment was not supported.

“It is an ambition that has received unprecedented levels of public support and celebrity endorsement, which we welcome.

“I will continue to advocate at every turn to ensure that Scottish and UK standards of production are considered in the negotiation of new and other trade agreements. I firmly believe that is what the public wish to see.”

Borders MP offers explanation

Borders MP John Lamont, who rejected the Lords amendments, said: “These votes do not change our already high food standards.

“Chlorinated chicken remains banned. Hormone beef remains banned. I will never vote to lower these.

“What these amendments would have done is put at risk the livelihoods of Borders farmers and other local businesses whose products are enjoyed around the world.”

The Lords amendment which would have banned low-quality imports was defeated by a majority 53 (332 votes to 279).

Tweeddale MP David Mundell does not appear to have voted on Monday.